July 12, 2007

Promises, Promises

The Democrats made a lot of promises in the last electoral cycle, most of which they have yet to fulfill: serious earmark reform, action on a long list of legislative priorities, ending the power of lobbyists, and so on. Not only have voters learn to live with bitter disappointment from the worst Do-Nothing Congress in decades, but even Arlen Specter has been surprised by the level of mendacity by the opposition. The ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, who has served as a moderate enabler on some of the Democratic attacks on the administration, expressed his frustration about broken promises on judicial confirmations, which have ground to a halt:

Specter has accused Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) of breaking promises they made regarding Leslie Southwick, President Bush’s pick for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Specter aired his grievance with Reid and Leahy during a private meeting with leading conservative activists late Tuesday afternoon. Specter told those assembled that he was prepared to battle Democrats and asked if they also had an appetite for a fight, according to several people who attended the meeting. The activists assured Specter that they were eager to confront the Democrats on Southwick. ...

Republican discontent over the progress of Southwick’s nomination reached a boiling point Tuesday because early in the day Reid told Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Southwick’s chief advocate in the Senate, that the nomination had no hope of confirmation, according to GOP sources.

Reid stabbed Specter in the back by giving Leahy the green light to torpedo Southwick. Russ Feingold objected to a voice vote in the Judiciary Committee, and the nomination stalled there without a vote. Specter insists that the Democrats agreed to allow Southwick to have a vote on confirmation by the full Senate, and now they have used a parliamentary trick on him to derail a confirmation vote Specter thought he could deliver.

Now Specter wants conservative activists to start generating heat and outrage over this betrayal. That makes sense, but Specter's the last man to stand in front of conservatives and demand satisfaction for a betrayal. Many think Specter betrayed them more than once over judges, and Specter never had any fondness for conservative activists inserting themselves into the confirmation debate before now. In fact, he has been rather dismissive of grassroots support for specific nominees.

Apparently, it's different when it's his ox being gored. What a shock!

The case against Southwick seems rather poor in any case. The Democrats have tried to scotch the nomination because he joined a majority ruling upholding custody of an eight-year-old boy to his father, rather than his lesbian mother, which used the word "homosexual" in his opinion rather than the word "gay". He also ruled with the majority in reinstating a fired state employee who used a racial epithet at work. He didn't write either opinion, and no one argues that these decisions didn't comply with the law. The ABA unanimously gave Southwick its highest rating.

Democrats want to play politics with judicial confirmations -- again. They have more power to do so now that they have the majority. A failure to recommend confirmation from the committee does not equate to a filibuster, however, and the Republicans did the same thing to some of Bill Clinton's nominees. The difference here is that Specter got his feelings hurt, and now wants conservatives to fight his battles for him when two years ago he had no use for us whatsoever.

We should champion Southwick, and we should tell Specter to pound sand.


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Comments (20)

Posted by Praxeus | July 12, 2007 7:39 AM

Exorcise the liberal demons !!!! :)

Posted by JabbaTheTutt | July 12, 2007 7:49 AM

To me, this is too funny. Specter as "moderate enabler" and the fact that after decades in the Senate with close working relationships with Reid and Senator Leaky Leahy, that he actually believed their promises.

About Specter, I'd change the quip made about the Bourbons of France, who "forgot nothing and learned nothing". For Specter, it has become, he "forgot everything and learned nothing".

Posted by Noumenon | July 12, 2007 8:03 AM

Hey, Ed, kudos on getting rid of the registration requirement for commenters! Many's the time I wanted to have a discussion and couldn't, and even after I registered once I forgot my login.

Not only have voters learn to live with bitter disappointment from the worst Do-Nothing Congress in decades,

Why so much sympathy for disappointed Democratic voters? You should be happy that the Democrats aren't getting anything done. My ideal of limited government makes me wish that neither party would get anything done, but especially the one I disagree with.

Posted by furious | July 12, 2007 8:17 AM

"...tell Specter to pound sand."

Yup, lose us another qualified Conservative jurist on the Appellate Bench, but at least we stuck it to ol' Snarlin' Arlen!

Settling scores is so much more fun than shepherding good people through the Confirmation Process. It's also the mark of a Party/movement resigned to its minority status. I remember ~25 of the 40 years of the previous Republican wilderness exile, do you?

I wouldn't care if it were LIncoln Chafee shudder arguing Judge Southwick's merits, it's the quality of the President's nominee, not the standing of her/his Senate advocate, that matters.


Posted by the fly-man | July 12, 2007 8:33 AM

Isn't quite naive for anyone to assume that politics don't or shouldn't have anything to do with judicial nominees?

Posted by LuckyBogey | July 12, 2007 8:56 AM

There used to be a time when I admired Mr Specter. After watching him over the past several nominations I have come to believe that he lost his mind and time has past him by. His repeated collusion with the rats on the Judiciary Committee is a betrayed that will never be forgotten by this conservative.

Too bad the people of PA would rather have this old relic than Mr Santorum. I just wish Specter, McCain, Lindsay, and their RINO cowards would please go away.

Posted by Arclight | July 12, 2007 9:00 AM

Specter doesn't need our support. Like Kerry in '04, he needs to see our backs...

Treachery indeed - remember your support for the conservitives on the 'immigration' bill?

Posted by I R A Darth Aggie | July 12, 2007 9:45 AM

Hey, furious, you should work on your rhetoric skills. Creative editing isn't worth warm snail spit...

We should champion Southwick, and we should tell Specter to pound sand.

Ok, which part of We should champion Southwick do you need explained to you?

Posted by David M | July 12, 2007 10:12 AM

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Posted by docjim505 | July 12, 2007 10:39 AM

Poor, poor Arlen. What's a "moderate" Republican to do? He grabbed his ankles for the dems and got on the Sunday talk shows by "standing up to Bush", and now they've put some sand in the vaseline and he doesn't like it. Poor, poor, guy.

Pound sand, Arlen.

Posted by Barnestormer | July 12, 2007 11:06 AM

If there's a more treacherous viper in the Senate than Leahy, I'm open to nominations. Cheney's two-word enjoinder, in the form of a rubber stamp, should occupy every Republican office holder's desk, ahead of Copy, Confidential, and the current date.

Posted by furious | July 12, 2007 11:16 AM

IR Darth...and thinking things through apparently aren't among your skills.

Champion Southwick's nomination by disowning
the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee?

What part of "we need the votes in Committee" do you need explained to you?

Bring something more than your big mouth next time.



Posted by ForNow | July 12, 2007 11:26 AM

We don't always get to pick our allies, half-allies, etc.

Let's think of Specter as a prodigal son on this, hold our noses, and fight alongside him.

Posted by docjim505 | July 12, 2007 12:14 PM

furious and ForNow,

I see your point. Many people both here and at other conservative blogs I've read have argued that we shouldn't "throw out the baby with the bathwater" when it comes to RINOs like Specter, Chaffee, the Maine Girls, and the nauseating Graham. These arguments have undeniable merit. However, my opinion of Specter has reached a point where I prefer another old saying:

"With friends like this, who needs enemies?"

Posted by Goeffrey de Boullion | July 12, 2007 12:45 PM

I second docjim. Sure, we need a big tent, but a tent must have an outside as well. The last 6 years (especially since 2004) have taught me that it is more about right and wrong than about R or D. I will vote against Graham, hopefully in the primary, but in the general if necessary. Not one dime to the NRSC.

Posted by exDemo | July 12, 2007 5:59 PM

The Dems organize the Senate by one vote. If independent Lieberman should decide to caucus with the Repubs or merely refuse to caucus with the Dems, then the Republicans take over. They could even try to drag in the Rutabaga from the Dakotas, but its doubtful that he can even pull a lever or know what day, month, or year it is.

The question is:; Would the 'Pubs really want to be in charge?? Dingy is doing such a great job of destroying the Dem's as is.


Posted by emdfl | July 12, 2007 7:24 PM

Bush and Specter must see the same guru. The "kiss-the- demos-ass-and-they-will-be-nice-to-you" one. Couldn't happen to two nicer people. BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Posted by Rose | July 12, 2007 9:46 PM

Spectre is the biggest donkey's rear-end.

I tell you, my high estimation of Orin Hatch plummetted through the basement when he supported Spectre several years ago because of "protocol".

One can only hope Spectre's state wakes up, eventually.

Meanwhile, WE don't have to make him feel a part of ANY effort to do anything RIGHT for Southwick - or for AMERICA.

Kick him on back where he came from - from right by Reid and Pelosi's warm side.

Posted by Rose | July 12, 2007 9:55 PM

Many people both here and at other conservative blogs I've read have argued that we shouldn't "throw out the baby with the bathwater" when it comes to RINOs like Specter, Chaffee, the Maine Girls, and the nauseating Graham.


Trouble is, these nasty filthy characters ARE THE DIRT IN THE DIRTY BATHWATER - they ain't no ways the BABY.

Throw them out.

Posted by Cornellian | July 13, 2007 12:37 AM

Personally I like Specter. It's his job to make his own judgment on a presidential nominee and not to support anyone Bush nominates automatically. I don't think he killed any of Bush's nominations when he was chairman of the SJC and if he's not as big a Bush cheerleader as some would like, that still gives him plenty of Republican company in the Senate.